"Can you see the light there?" you ask me, pointing towards the dark sleepy hills dominating the landscape across the sparkling Subarnarekha. The river's at her passionate best, shining like quicksilver on a gorgeous moonlit night. "Do you hear the rumbling of the maadol?" I ask in return. Somewhere hidden in those mysterious shades of green, grey and brown jungles, someone is offering a prayer in a language we cannot comprehend, but whose essence we can both construe—music!
It's well-past dinner time; and on another night when there's a nip in the air, we could be happily tucked in bed, sleeping or talking; or perhaps awake and wrapping up the end of a long day doing little things that make us happy. On another night, at this hour, you could be sitting next to the soft lights of the terracotta lamp (yes, the one with those little bells on its rim…the one we picked up after much bargaining from the Poushh Mela that year when you played for the first time in Santiniketan) leafing through some new music reviews, or humming lines from a very old favorite ghazal…maybe Zafar, maybe Momin…or even Ghalib. On another night, I could be reading excerpts from the latest Man Booker winner rocking on my very coveted black Mahogany grandfather's chair (yes, the same one that I fell in love with at an old antique shop on Russell Street. It cost us a fortune but I wouldn't settle for anything else), or perhaps just scribbling over the last few words of the Telegraph crossword, that I didn't get quite right this morning. But on such an ethereally lit winter night as this one, wrapped up in shawls, we are both happy to be awake and to let our souls drown in what we feel happens rarely, and therefore cannot be missed—the milieu of music, moonlight and mystery. As the apartment lights and halogen lamps switch off one by one, and the whole neighborhood plunges into honeyed slumber, we stay awake, straining our ears to hear and absorb the distant reverberation of a rustic Santhali tune, wondering and seeking the origin of a music so secreted, yet so eloquent, untouched by the periphery of urban life or parameters of "civilized understanding". We stay awake in a trance, relishing the music, the forest fires, while the moon moves slowly and deliberately over the hills like a seductress, enveloping and embracing the entire panorama of our vision in a mystical silver veil. We are at a strange crossroad of feelings tonight…assimilating the beauty of the ambience individually, yet together, in a way. Unlike our usual discourses, we leave nature to initiate and lead all the conversation. After all, even sharing a moment of silence with someone who can read your thoughts can be so beautiful. Tonight, let's celebrate this moment of silence, of music, of mystery, of moonlight, of togetherness, of all the little passions in life that bind us beyond time, space and definitions… tonight, let's just celebrate "US".